Final Meetings and Departure from Rhodes

We are driving to the Rhodes Airport in about 45-minutes to fly to Athens.  We are spending the night in Athens and I have an early morning Friday flight to London, then Philadelphia and finally Pittsburgh.  I get back to Pittsburgh Friday night.

We had an extremely productive day of final meetings with the Greek Officials as part of closing our data collection in Rhodes.  We met with officials from the Archaeology Commission and gave a presentation outlining our preliminary finds.  They were stunned by the amount of work we could accomplish in ten days.  The data from Kahal Shalom revealed two possible buildings beneath the current one.  Walls were found at a depth of over one meter, and again at nearly three meters beneath the surface.  One question is, are these from the same structure or do they represent two different structures.  Excavation will reveal the answer, and the Greek officials are considering an a limited exploratory excavation at this site.  This could perhaps occur next January (2016) when we may return to continue our work that we began this year.  At Kahal Grande, the data also revealed building sequences beneath the current ruined structure.  What is very interesting is that the older structure beneath the current land surface may be the remains of a synagogue, and adjacent to this are the ruins of a christian church.  This poses and interesting questions.  Did the two exist side by side in antiquity?  This would be of great cultural significance if a synagogue and church existed side by side and operated at the same time in antiquity.  Further analysis of out current data and new data may reveal these answers.

The work at the Grand Master Palace also revealed some interesting data.  There are definitely Byzantine era walls outside of the defensive wall of the Knight Templar palace, and the palace in places uses these wall as the foundation for its walls.  After talking to Greek researchers that have spent years researching these walls and possible associations with the location of the Colossus of Rhodes, these discoveries are very promising.  The use of a new technology for the Greek portion of the project, Electro-Resistivity Tomography (ERT) will definitely allow more detailed subsurface mapping.  The plan is to incorporate this technology into the proposed research design for January 2016.  The data generated from this equipment will help answer some of the questions we have about building sequences for one.  Below are walls from the Hellenistic period that predate the Byzantine walls.  In many places these walls are actually higher in elevation the the younger Byzantine walls which puts them out of strategraphic sequence.  This presents an interesting problem to solve related to the possible location of the Colossus.


At the meeting with the Greek officials we received a verbal invitation to continue the work in January 2016.  This will  become an official invitation once we submit our final reports.  Additionally, we have been asked to expand our research design to include additional components.  We discussed a DNA study related to the thousands of burials they have excavated and cataloged.  No such study has ever been completed in Rhodes and this would add much needed information to the base of knowledge about the lineage of the Rhodians.  They will be mailing four teeth to me in the near future for DNA analysis which will serve as the starting point for the project.  This project has great potential for student and faculty involvement and funding.  I think there are also opportunities to incorporate other disciplines found in the Bayer School into this project.  Those ideas are still be thought out.  Below is the Pottery Analysis Lab at the Archaeology Commission.  As you can see it is located in an ancient castle.  The lab lacks the necessary equipment to do advanced chemical analysis, and that is way way that other components in BSNES can become involved.


Off to the airport.  I will try to blog some more of my thoughts tonight regarding how we can further develop these research designs to include Duquesne students and faculty, and how we can fund these endeavors.

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